ATHENS, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Greece has entered the final stretch towards the start of hydrocarbons exploration drilling in the Ionian sea in western Greece in 2019, while at least 500 million euros (567.6 million U.S. dollars) are expected to be invested on the entire project over the next seven to eight years.
The announcement was made by Yannis Bassias, president of Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management (HHRM) during a recent Eastern Mediterranean Forum on energy law in Athens.
The countdown to the beginning of oil exploration drillings in the Gulf of the city port of Patras and off Katakolo town in western Peloponnese peninsula has commenced, local daily "To Vima" (The Tribune) reported on Monday, citing officials of the HHRM, the state-run company which since its establishment in 2011 has negotiated exploration licenses to exploit Greece's hydrocarbon resources.
Greece consumes 330,000 barrels of oil on average every day, while 4,000 barrels of oil are produced at Prinos village in northern Greece and it is about time to act and close the gap, Yannis Grigoriou, CEO of HHRM Upstream, an HHRM subsidiary, told " To Vima".
The consortium of Hellenic Petroleum and Italy's Edison is planning the first exploration drilling in 2019 in the West Patras Gulf, where it is estimated that there are reserves of up to 140 million barrels of oil, according to Bassias.
In Katakolo, which has been assigned to Energean, some 10.5 million barrels have been confirmed and production is expected to start in 2020 , he told the forum in Athens.
Bassias emphasized that few companies have the technology and know-how to search in the great depths of the Ionian and Cretan Seas in southern Greece, while the technology that will allow drilling at depths greater than 3,000 meters is expected to be available at the time when it will be decided if oil and gas production is actually feasible.
Therefore, Greece will serve as a proving ground for the new technology, he said.
The Greek parliament is expected to ratify in coming weeks the licensing contracts for hydrocarbon exploration in the Ionian Sea off the shores of Corfu island(a consortium of Hellenic Petroleum and REPSOL), west and northwest of Crete (a Total/Exxon/Hellenic Petroleum Consortium) and Block 10 (Hellenic Petroleum) , Greek national news agency AMNA reported. (1 euro= 1.13 U.S. dollars)